Insanity and society, expectations and self acceptance.
She sat in the middle of the lake. It was more like a puddle, honestly, but with her size, it was basically a large body of water. It had its own inhabitants; she devised them herself. Plants surrounded her; everything hung in suspense in the water.
What she did not expect that morning was the stranger that stumbled into her realm.
He seemed blind to her, deaf. He fell into the water, unaware that he was drowning. His mind had taken hold; everything was covered in chaos. Everything around him was distorted. Anything good seemed bad. Anything normal brought him fear.
It was as though he was gripped by that fear, from the very depths of his subconscious, to his extremities. Everything hurt. He swam through life as if it were a viscous substance populated by his illusions. He felt like a ghost, a phantom, surveying his surroundings but lacking the ability to interact with them. He himself felt nothing, unless he was still, ready to embrace the pain he hid from the world, full force. It crushed him.
He was probably at the end of his rope, grown tired of pretending to be more sane than he ever really was. He suppressed so much that strange, powerful headaches would overtake him. He was miserable. He was blocked, in so many ways. He needed relief; sweet release. Technology simply made him feel worse. He wanted to be zen, to stop faking, to truly and fully be himself.
So he decided to take some time off. It began to open up his thoughts; his mind finally mustered the courage to speak to him. His head throbbed in places, but that was just the physical manifestation of the intensity of his thoughts. The grand design of his own. It slowly welcomed him, began to clear up as he accepted himself for who he was. He had not even realised that he had started to lock himself away.
After a year of university, the detrimental effects began to show. Well, at least he had his summer holidays now, and he began to heal. Some time away from everything online seemed to help him immensely.
And, when he finally had the energy to leave his own home, he found himself like an asthmatic, lungs slowly clearing as if he had taken a magical cure that made breathing easier for him. But, the headaches that began to reside within his head started to kick in again, his emotions too strong, his mind trying to break the cage it created for itself.
And as he walked, his brain took hold. His atmosphere was filled by imagery from his mind. People perched on tables, chairs, desks, speaking to one another. Some held the appearance of a Greek poem, while others were simply hideous, disfigured monsters. Others were characters of his own creation.
So many of these beings begged him to let them out. Self expression; that was what he needed.
And as he walked, haunted by his own mental imagery, he stumbled into that puddle, falling fast, deep, into its clutches.
As the lady of the lake noticed the disturbance, she lifted her wrist, some of the longer plants reaching up to catch him. She saw he was beginning to suffocate, and with a lingering look, brought her fingers to her own lips, blue hair floating about her head as she ran those fingers over his nose, then slowly, gently brought her lips to his. He suddenly gasped, lungs burning, his world nothing but pain. And then, it slowly faded away, the pain replaced by relief.
Vincent’s eyes slowly opened, gazing about him, trying to find his bearings. Where the Hell was he? And what were those glowing things in the water? Wait, why could he breathe underwater?
“You fell into my home,” the gentle being that held him in her arms spoke, looking up at him with curiosity. Her long, blue hair seemed weightless, except she seemed to be able to willingly move it; coming around him to give him warmth and shield him from the harsh light from above.
“Okay, that’s fine and dandy, but… how the Hell am I able to breathe in the water? This is water, right? I don’t really… remember much of what happened before I fell here, or whatever.”
“Well, I couldn’t have you dying in my home, now, could I? I gave you the ability to. It’s just a type of magic that gives your mind the illusion that it’s breathing in air. You… Seemed to respond really well to it.”
“Yeah, well, my entire life is a bunch of illusions and I’m certifiably insane. I live in my own little universe that no one else can see. But I see it. And I grew so absolutely tired of pretending I don’t. In fact, I’m tired of everything.” He pushed himself up, allowing himself the feeling of weightlessness. “You know, I held in so much that I started to get constant, daily headaches. It’s near impossible to live like this. I can’t do it. I won’t do it.”
He found himself unable to hold back the words. They just… Gushed out of his mouth, faster than any of the currents around him. Wait, currents? In a lake? What kind of place was this? Either way, he liked the strangeness. In fact, he embraced it. He felt welcome here, like this crazy world was just one he belonged in.
“Then don’t. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, you know. And…” The girl with blue hair brought her hand to his cheek, her gentle touch soothing his nerves. “You seem to hold a lot of fear within. You’re so… Tense. So afraid that someone might see in you something that could harm you instead of help you. Well, let me tell you this. Everyone is a little crazy. And those who are _really_ crazy, like you? Well, you’re above the law. You’re above the norm. So… Don’t let fear cripple you like it has been. Fear, unless it’s saving you from death, is completely pointless. Here, take a breather with me.”
She sucked in a long, deep breath, as though the air within the water flowed through every particle of her being. She smiled up at Vincent, who obediently followed suit.
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. He breathed in and out. Slowly, surely, deeply, peacefully.
He stopped for a moment, looked around himself. His life was fine. His fears were entirely irrational. He was a physicist. If that was not a ticket to be absolutely insane, what was?
He smiled to himself, the feeling of self acceptance almost overwhelming him. He probably had not felt this kind of happiness in a long time. The headaches seemed to loosen; the knots in his neck began to fade. Some of his thoughts were still intense enough to cause a headache like reaction, but he did not judge it, did not try to change it. The smile never left his features. He was who he was, and he was not going to change that for anyone.
His love of everything dark, distorted, disturbing, his constantly working mind, the people he spoke with in his mind. He did not care. Not anymore.
You only live once, anyway. Why spend it suppressing who you are, when who you are is a creative, wonderfully unique, strange individual, with so much to offer it was like a completely new universe of its own, just being you?